FORMER President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against three of the country's largest tech companies, claiming he and fellow conservatives have been wrongly censored.
The class-action suit, filed on Wednesday, takes aim at Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube – as well as Former First Lady Michelle Obama.
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The suit reportedly claims Obama pressured Facebook into banning Trump from the platform, thereby making it more difficult for him to run for president in 2024, according to Newsweek.
However, legal experts were quick to criticize the claims, saying they had little chance of succeeding in court.
Trump's accounts have been suspended from the three platforms since January, when his followers stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden's presidential success.
Following the January 6 riots, Michelle Obama released a statement which said it was "time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior."
Referring to Trump, she added that companies needed to "permanently ban this man from their platforms."
According to the lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Miami, Obama's views echo those of legislators who are making it "increasingly clear" that they want the former president and the "views and content" he embodies to be banned from Facebook.
Trump announced the action at a press conference in New Jersey, where he demanded that his accounts be reinstated.
The former president said of the filings: "We’re asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to order an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people.
"We’re going to hold big tech very accountable.”
He added: "We’re demanding an end to the shadowbanning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well,” Trump said.
Twitter, Facebook and Google, YouTube's parent company, are all private businesses, and users must agree to their terms of service to use their products.
Under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, social media platforms are allowed to moderate their services by removing posts that, for instance, are obscene or violate the services’ own standards, so long as they are acting in “good faith.”
Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California who has studied more than 60 similar, failed lawsuits that sought to take on internet companies for terminating or suspending users’ accounts, told the Associated Press that Trump's lawsuits are doomed to fail.
Goldman added: “They’ve argued everything under the sun, including First Amendment, and they get nowhere.
“Maybe he’s got a trick up his sleeve that will give him a leg up on the dozens of lawsuits before him. I doubt it.”
Meanwhile, Paul Barrett, the deputy director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University’s Stern School of Business, said that Trump was fundamentally misunderstanding the Constitution.
Barrett said: “The First Amendment applies to government censorship or speech regulation. It does not stop private sector corporations from regulating content on their platforms."
For some time, Trump and other politicians have argued that the likes of Facebook and Twitter have abused their protection and should lose their immunity or have it curtailed.
While some conservatives argue that such sites are against them, numerous recent studies have shown that this isn't the case.
Conservative commentators – like Ben Shapiro, Franklin Graham, Dan Bongino and Dinesh D’Souza – are often among the most widely shared on Facebook.
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